2015 Giant Trance 27.5 1 Review

If you’re looking for a comparison to every other current bike on the market, this isn’t the review for you. This is my first new mountain bike since 1999. Aside from a demo on an Ibis Mojo HDR 650b, this is my first bike with 27.5 wheels, tubeless tires, 5.5 inches of suspension, disc brakes, a 2×10 drivetrain and a dropper post.

So I won’t try and put this bike in context of its competition. I can’t. I can only tell you how the Giant Trance 27.5 rides. And the best way to describe that is balanced. The 140mm Maestro suspension is balanced between plushness and efficiency, the geometry is balanced between stable and playful, the whole bike is balanced between uphill and downhill. This bike has a lot of Goldilocks going on.

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Eastern Sierra Breweries – Mountain Rambler & June Lakes Brewing

Lynn and I took a spontaneous trip down the Eastern Sierra to Bishop over the weekend, with loose plans of climbing, camping and mountain biking. We bouldered in the Happy’s and the Buttermilks, I screwed up mountain biking by forgetting my shoes – but two new breweries, one in Bishop and one in June Lakes, really stole the show.

We’ve always been big fans of Mammoth Brewing Company, and the 395 IPA has always been one of my favorite beers – the use of Eastern Sierra sage and juniper instantly transport me to the high desert below jagged granite peaks – no matter where I am.

At Mountain Rambler - Photo by Lynn Baumgartner (

At Mountain Rambler – Photo by Lynn Baumgartner (

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donner peak sunset

Save Donner Summit Climbing

The Truckee Donner Land Trust and the Access Fund are working to preserve the world-class climbing on Donner Summit, click here for the details and to donate.

Me climbing on Green Phantom, Donner Summit. Photo by Sylas Wright.

Me climbing on Green Phantom, Donner Summit. Photo by Sylas Wright.

You can get all the details in the link above, but the short version is – the private property surrounding Black Wall, one of the key climbing areas on the summit, is up for sale, and the Truckee Donner Land Trust and Access Fund want to not only insure it stays accessible by purchasing it, but also set up partnerships with Caltrans, US Forest Service and Union Pacific Railroad to keep all climbing on Donner Summit open and accessible to the public.

From the Nursery School Slab that is so many people’s first outdoor rock climb to Kindergarten Crag, many people’s first multi-pitch route, numerous top roping routes to some of the hardest routes in the country, this is a key climbing area well worth protecting. Learn more about Donner Summit climbing here.


10th Annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival Coming to Tahoe

Lynn is putting on the Wild & Scenic Film Festival for the Sierra Nevada Alliance, benefiting the Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership, on March 26 at MontBleu in South Lake Tahoe (Click here for details)

Lynn and I went to the Nevada City Wild And Scenic Film Festival hosted by SYRCL that started it all (the South Lake Tahoe one in March is an “on tour” stop) back in January so she could scout films. The ones she picked were fantastic. I’ve been to previous years of this and other similar film events, and I was surprised by how great each film was, which means a really strong lineup this year for Tahoe. You can see Lynn’s post on her favorite films here.

So mark your calendar for March 26, and don’t miss out on this great event and these great films.


Black & White by Grey – Photos on Ansel Adams’ Birthday

Today is Ansel Adams’ birthday. To say I’ve been inspired by his photography would hardly be unique. But I can say my name was inspired by him too. My dad was a huge admirer of Adams and a great black and white film photographer himself, and he and my mom took me to Yosemite every year since I was born. My name came from my father’s obsession with Adams’ black and white, which as my dad said, is really shades of grey. He jokes the other option for my name was Zone 6. Anyway, as I’ve explored photography, I’ve played in monochrome, and here are a few from around the Sierra – nothing to pay honest tribute to Adams’ work, but my attempt none the less.

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